This effect was first invented by James Lucier as The Cockeyed Skeleton In The Closet and described in Genii October 1949. The effect was also released c. 1949 through Sedghill Industries as The Scrambled Skeleton with credit also going to James Lucier. There have been many versions of all shapes and sizes ever since.
This version from the talented and inventive craftsman Michael Baker is easily the prettiest and most substantial version I have ever seen. In addition to outstanding construction it includes some neat features:
- The blocks are double sided with a skeleton on one side and a zombie on the other so you can switch up the routine as desired.
- The other benefit of having the blocks double sided is that when you perform this you never have to second guess which block is which – it is staring at your right in the face. This makes for a much smoother performance.
- It includes a unique Tombstone in a wheelbarrow container that not only has a very effective vanish but it much more entertaining than the more usual Devil’s Hanky or similar approach to vanish. The vanish involves a penetration of the block by a large spike and even close-up looks perfect.
- The main tube has a three-dimensional rustic coffin facade which makes the whole unit seem more authentic and certainly lends itself to some more interesting patter presentations.
Effect: Despite repeated attempts to construct a skeleton (or zombie) in the proper order, the blocks continue to rearrange themselves in a most spooky manner! Finally, one block vanishes and ends up back with the rest of the body!
The blocks are reversible, showing a rotting skeleton on one side, and a disgusting, walking-dead zombie on the other! You can choose which side you want to use in your show!
The tube has a cool three-dimensional rustic coffin facade, rather than just a stenciled design.
The blocks are three inches square. The tombstone device is designed to vanish the head block, and is our own creation. The block is placed inside (yes, it is a solid block with no holes!), the front slide put in place and the solid steel spike driven through the side. Lift the slide panel and the block has disappeared!
The Original patter from The Scrambled Skeleton by James Lucier: Magician lifts a tube painted to resemble a door on front. He says that this represents the closet in an old haunted house. “And like all closets in haunted houses”, he exclaims, “this one contains a skeleton”.
When the tube is lifted, it reveals a skeleton figure painted on three blocks, top block has the head the middle block the torso the bottom block the legs.
The magician remarks that the only trouble with the skeleton is, that he always gets into a scrambled mess. (Magician scatters the blocks over the table). “This is no doubt due” he says, “to several small boys that play in the neighborhood”.
“And every time the caretaker of the house reassembles the skeleton and puts him back in the closet”. (The magician re-stacks the skeleton properly).
“Another night passes and when the door is opened (lift tube) the skeleton is all scrambled” (the head rests below the torso).
Again the skeleton is reassembled and the closet is replaced. And again the closet is removed, the skeleton is scrambled. (This time the head is on the bottom).
“Finally the caretaker became so angry trying to keep the head in place he decided to destroy the skull” the magician states. (The skull is vanished). But when the closet is lifted, the skull has come back and the skeleton is assembled properly at last.
Text Source: Genii Magazine - October 1949
(Notice: Includes: Printed Instructions.)( Post Source: martinsmagic.com - click for details )